A very rare (for me) French Manicure

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 7 - 2011

I don’t do French Manicures.  I love how they look all polished and pretty but they’re a pain in the proverbial backside for someone as OCD as me to get right.

Having said that, I spent a couple of hours attempting one whilst rotting my brain watching Living +1 the other day.  It was in aid for a guest post on another site that never went ahead and rather than waste my hard work, here it is!

Apologies if it’s a bit “teaching your grandmother to suck eggs”, the brief was to share French Manicure tips and this is the best but least yawn-inducing one I know!

After many years, it’s time to accept that some things will remain forever out of reach. Those Boyzone tour tickets, a bit-part in Friends and that pair of Clarks Magic Steps.  Up until a few years ago I’d have swapped all of ‘em for the ability to give myself a pretty French Manicure!

I’d attempted it before with those fiddly sticker guides but they always wound up stuck to everything except my nails and if I did manage to attach one, it was wonky.

When I first discovered that professionals painted the tips ‘freehand’, I was filled with both a mixture of admiration and disappointment as I realised that I’d never own a steady-enough hand for that kind of artistry. But then I learned the secret…

Paint the ‘smile line’ (that’s the proper expression for the tip) with a white polish of your choice, trying to follow the natural line the best you can… then (and here’s the clever bit), cheat!

Take an old lip or eyeliner brush dipped in some nail polish remover and making tiny circular strokes, craft the perfect crescent! The remover will dissolve those tell-tale wobbles that give away your amateur skills! Who says cheats never prosper?

How’s your French Manicure skillz?  Do you bother with them?


27 Responses to “A very rare (for me) French Manicure”

  1. liloo says:

    I must try again, i love love love love french manicures xx

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  2. Lindsay says:

    Oooh this looks gorgeous. I’m still completely rubbish at french manicures.

    What nail varnishes did you use for this one? Looks nice and natural, rather than stark and in your face!

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  3. Oooo your French Manicure looks amazing, so cute and so neat, love it! I didn’t know the tips were done free hand, as I’ve always been to a nail bar and had the tips airbrushed on using a stencil. I have attached a link, so you can see (and my nails are my own): http://hairandbeautylicious.blogspot.com/2011/05/let-preparations-begin.html

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  4. Very chic! Using an eyeliner to tidy up is such a good idea, I always struggle to get a neat clean line so definitely going to give it a go after exams. Which nail varnish did you use for the ‘natural’ bit of the manicure? It looks so pretty x

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    • Yes, just saturate the brush in some NP remover (lip brush works well too!) and work from underneath to remove all the wonky bits. I’ve used Butter London Hen Party as the all-over shade, is that what you meant? x

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  5. Chelsea says:

    I wear FMs exclusively for meetings and interviews. I have to use those sticker guides because I’m absolutely rubbish at all things that require a steady hand, which sort of puts me off doing it with other nail colours for the rest of the time.

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    • I just don’t get on with those stickers at all, I bet it makes for quicker manicures though. This one took me an absolute AGE!

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      • Chelsea says:

        They do take a while to line up properly (I’m a bit of a perfectionist too) and I find that I have to make them less sticky because they leave residue on my nail which is fine if I don’t have a base coat on because I can remove the glue, but I normally do because I’m always strengthening them, so I end up with a sticky mess which I just have to paint over and hope for the best if I’m in a rush. It really is a pain and it puts me off FMs even though I find them gorgeous!

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  6. I think that your FM is very chic and subtle. Beautiful.

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  7. I love the slightly pearlised base colour with this, very pretty! The only way I can do a french manicure is to put the edge of the brush onto my nail and then rather than moving the brush I roll my finger underneath it so the line is generally straight across rather than curved but on short square’ish nails it works and saves all that wobbling about!

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  8. Sydney says:

    This look fantastic on you, it looks like it was done by a pro!

    My natural white areas are all different sizes which means that I either have to have very uneven white areas or a really opaque pink which just looks ridiculous.

    I long for the day when I can have a lovely french manicure!

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  9. ZebyK says:

    This looks lovely! I love frenchies but can never do them! This might sound silly…but do you do the white bit first and then put the Hen party all over or the other way round? :S Xxx

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    • Ann says:

      Sorry for butting in, but I can answer this question – you do the white part first, and then paint the nude color (Hen Party or whatever you’re using) over that. The nude should be really sheer, so the white shows through.

      Doing the nude over the white makes it look more natural and not too stark and kinda softens everything.

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  10. Jenni says:

    Is that a Guerlain tin I spy you resting your nails on in the photo? I had one of them – beautiful. I too lusted after Clarks Magic Steps, as I also lusted after a plastic Popple that opened with a key (I had the soft cuddly version instead). Alas, it was not to be! (Sorry I haven’t talked about your French manicure, great tip with the brushes by the way!)

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  11. Lilmiznutcase says:

    Clarks Magic Shoes! I had them! *sobs*

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  12. That is really lovely. So cute posed on the Meteorites tin!

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  13. Kim says:

    I always find french manicures so hard to do. I can never get them right. Would never have thought about using an old lipliner/eyeliner brush. Thanks for the tip! xxx

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  14. Gemx says:

    I like french manicures, yours look perfect! Great tip about the brush to clean up the line. I often use a cheap concealer brush from elf to clean up my cuticles. It’s the perfect size and it’s stiff enough to remove my clumsy mistakes :) x

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  15. Naomi says:

    I see that you’ve said Boyzone tickets but I’m going to carry right on and assume you meant Take That.

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  16. Patricia says:

    My idea of FM is to wear a sheer polish… LOL. My tips are pretty opaque as they are, so I’ve never tried to paint them. Yours looks really natural, very classy – I hate those that are obviously fake.

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  17. Monica says:

    Actually, you’re doing it just like they teach professionals. I’m a licensed nail tech and this is how I was taught to do french manicures in school. I would love to be able to freehand them someday but it really looks cleaner when you use this method. (:

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